News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012
MCCORMICK, S.C. -- From the outside, the McCormick County school complex is a beautiful new building, but on Monday, something happened inside that has Tashekia Moore fighting mad.
"I know there's going to be some backlash for this, but I'm ready for it, because McCormick County School System is broken. It's flawed,” said Moore, whose son attends the McCormick Real Academy, an alternative school.
Her 14-year-old son sent a mass text from school. He told his mother and other family members that he was in danger.
"At 8:48 a.m., he texted me saying, 'They just got a knife out of the student's book bag and ain't report it,'" Moore readd from her phone.
A McCormick County Sheriff's Office report shows that an unidentified student did have a butcher knife in class.
"It was a butcher knife, not a pocket knife. A butcher knife starts this big and goes down slender,” Moore said.
Fearing that the incident would go unreported, Moore went up to the school. She says it was only then that the knife was secured by deputies and a report was filed.
"That boy with the knife could have went into the hallway and just started stabbing children, and now we're dealing with a Columbine situation,” she said. "I had parents writing [me] saying, 'Thank you and your son for saving my daughter.' 'I would like to come meet your son and shake his hand.'"
But the actions of her son weren’t celebrated. Instead, he was given a form and suspended for the rest of the day for texting in class.
"Explanation of the Incident: Student took out a cellphone and texted his mother that there was a weapon at the middle school. I was completely shocked,” she read from the form.
Superintendent Dr. Earlean Smiley says the school was following protocol. She says the incident is still being investigated and will continue to be investigated until they have all the facts. She says there’s no evidence to suggest that a teacher tried to conceal the incident and that the incident was handled properly. She says one theory is that Moore's son planted the knife in the book bag. Regardless, she says either student will face due process and be punished as necessary.
Moore, outraged by the allegation, says there's no way her son brought a knife to school and planted it. She says he didn't even bring a backpack to school that day.
She says her son actually got video and pictures of the incident and the knife, but the teacher took his phone and gave it back to him with everything deleted.